Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell


5 out of 5 stars | Goodreads

Whilst not my usual type of book, I thought I’d give Fangirl a chance as I’d seen it EVERYWHERE, with such glowing reviews and praise – and who could resist a title like that? I have fangirled over many a book, TV series, video game, film, you name it, and quite honestly reading about someone else doing that was quite appealing.

I won Lianne’s blogoversary giveaway, and chose this as my prize (thank you, Lianne!). It came in the post on Friday morning, and by Saturday night I had started reading. I was absolutely shattered, but I kept telling myself ‘just one more chapter… they’re only short… just one more’.

I think it’s safe to say that I was already a bit of a fangirl by that point.

It was so fantastic to read about this character and completely and utterly relate to her. I’ve met many people in my life who don’t understand why I enjoy the things I do, or think I’m childish for liking them. Sometimes I actually feel kind of embarrassed for liking those things, which is really rubbish because they’re an important part of my life, and I shouldn’t let what others think dictate what I enjoy. Rainbow Rowell really hits the nail on the head with the way that she shows Cath being completely and utterly in love with the Simon Snow series, and really passionate about writing fanfiction for it – but also reluctant to tell anyone in the ‘real world’. Even though she’s a talented writer, chances are people will look down on her for writing fanfiction of ‘children’s stories’. Like me, Cath was often caught between wanting to express her love for something, and hide it deep down so as not to embarrass herself. It’s a painful feeling.

Cath also frustrated me at times. She was a bit of a hermit, hiding away in her room all the time, then wondering why she was lonely. And then I realised that was me at the beginning of uni, in a way – I think I made most of my friends through chance, and I only ever had a small group of friends – I certainly didn’t go out with the aim of meeting lots and lots of new people. So once again, the story felt very relatable, and has also urged me to make sure I don’t do that when I go off to university again after this summer.

As for the other characters – Levi was ADORABLE. Wren partly irritated me, but I also understood why she acted like she did. Unlike Cath, she desperately wanted to shed the fangirl image so as to blend in, whereas Cath hung onto it because of everything it meant to her. Reagan complemented Cath nicely, and Nick… well Nick felt a bit pointless to be honest. He just kind of disappeared for the last third and there was no mention of him until the very end. Art, Wren and Cath’s father, had an important role to play that kept Cath grounded, and also helped to show the reader perhaps just why Cath was so obsessed with the Simon Snow series.

Fangirl was an utter delight to read. I loved how Simon Snow was pretty much Harry Potter – it made the story even easier to relate to. Rainbow Rowell has perfectly captured that feeling of loving something, but also perhaps being a little bit (unnecessarily) ashamed of that love for it. The relationships in the book were some of the best I’ve read in contemporary Young Adult fiction, and felt very natural. The ending felt a bit open, and left me wanting more, but I’m not sure if there will be a sequel. Perhaps I’ll have to turn to fanfiction instead.